2013-03-14 / Front Page

Safe and Stable houSing coalition working to meet reSidentS’ needS

MANISTIQUE – Splitting the title as CBC’s third charity for 2013, the Schoolcraft County Coalition for Safe and Stable Housing will soon be taking home funds for its cause. The Coalition works to secure needed services for area residents, as well as provide a better quality of life for those in need.

CBC, which raises funds for the American Cancer Society, Bay Cliff Health Camp, and a “Community Charity”, chose the Coalition as half of this year’s community charity. The other half of the funds raised for the Community Charity portion will be distributed to the Long Distance Medical Transportation Program at the Manistique Senior Center.

According to Coalition Director Nancy Demers, the organization applied for the Community Charity title in December of 2012. Upon learning the organization was selected, Demers said she and the others involved were honored.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for residents in Schoolcraft County – it opens up funding that will help sustain people when they’re having emergencies,” she said.

The coalition will use the funds raised during the CBC drive in two ways, she explained.

“It will be used in coordination with other funds from all of the other agencies in the community,” she said. “Along with that, CBC funds will also be targeted for medical travel. We do have people who do not qualify for anything, and if there’s an emergency – sometimes we’ve seen where it’s a house payment or travel.”

Unlike the senior center program, Demers said the Coalition’s medical transportation program covers only those 60 and under. The program will work with the Manistique Minstrel Association, she added.

The Association is just one of the over 30 agencies the Coalition works with to match residents with the services they need, Demers explained. Included on the list of agencies are the Manistique Housing Commission, Schoolcraft

County Department of Human Services, the Medical Care Access Coalition, Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital, the Alliance Against Violence and Abuse, and Habitat for Humanity – Hiawathland, among others.

“We wrap around our clients to serve them and the needs that they have, all to promote the quality of life and healthy living,” she said. “All applicants are screened to make sure that we have no overlapping of services. We make sure that we send people to the right places where they will qualify before the minor funds in the community are used.”

The Coalition was created to meet a federal requirement that each county have a “continuum of care” to help end homelessness, Demers said. In response to this requirement, the Coalition also drafted a 10-year plan to end homelessness. In this plan, the Coalition outlines their vision for Schoolcraft County, noting that they will work to “ensure that there is an adequate supply of safe, stable and affordable housing for all our residents. We want to have the resources and infrastructure in place to identify those individuals and families as they become at risk for homelessness.”

To date, the Coalition is doing all they can to stick to their vision, Demers said. On top of everyday services, the Coalition also hosts special community events, such as a community resource fair, to promote awareness of services available in the area.

According to Demers, the Coalition will continue to do all they can to assist those in need in the community.

“Working in the community with families, we run across a lot of different, unique situations,” she said. “We can streamline the care for families in those unique situations.”

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